Sunday, August 10, 2014

Future Hoop Garden, Jerky and the Ebola Virus

Store bought coop, inside a dog kennel, fenced  in with T-posts.
We started with a wooden store-bought chicken coop left on the property by the owners. Knowing that it wouldn't be big enough for five birds, I placed it inside of a large (4' x 10' x 5')  Lucky Dog Kennel.  After our pup Lucky almost killed four of them, I added an additional perimeter using T-posts and donated fencing.

"The Girls" are doing such a terrific job eating all the weeds and fertilizing the ground that I decided it was time to expand their living quarters. I spent a few hours today setting up a large area for a future set of His and Hers hoop gardens. Once the girls are done clearing the land and fertilizing, I'll start building the hoops.

Old coop is in far view, grassy area is all the new area.
Using free fencing from a friend and 15 t-posts, I walked out a 10 x 15 foot area and went to work. I used left over electric fence wire, cut into six inch sections, to tie the fence to the posts. I had enough fencing to cover the whole area with a little left over.

I recently acquired five more chicks and they have lived out the first three months in our laundry room. I kept them in a portable dog kennel (actually, a cardboard box WITHIN a dog kennel) and changed the cardboard frequently. Once they were a few months old, I carried the kennel outside and placed it into the chicken coop. I figured this gave the older gals a chance to meet the new gals without any chance of harm. After a week or so outside, I let them out of the cage and watched the show. Lots of bumping and shoving with minimal pecking. Then I removed the small dog kennel from the chicken coop and brought it back inside.

Found these in the backyard today. Anybody know what they are?
This worked so well to transition new chicks into the group that I think I'll start using this method to bring in more chicks. Since we've been using the eggs for homemade noodle soup AND scrambled eggs for breakfast, we still don't quite get enough for daily use. Of the original five, only four are layers and SOMEBODY doesn't lay every day. Out of four chickens, we usually get three eggs a day. Rarely do we get four but it does happen. I'm told this is fairly normal. Remember, this is the farthest we've gotten with chickens. Before our move North, our German Shepard killed all five of our chickens before they could lay.

Dehydrator: gutted, cleaned and working like new.
Anyway, I got a lot more done today: took apart our jerky dehydrator and cleaned it out to make a fresh batch of jerky. I took pictures for a future post on how to clean it out; I made my usual noodles that go in my homemade noodle soup but cut them larger and am experimenting with making lasagna noodles. Wifey will be baking my first ever completely homemade lasagna tomorrow. I took "how to" pictures of that too.

Lastly, a good friend of mine visited us tonight who works closely with the CDC. He is some type of scientist/pathologist/microbiologist guy who was a good contact for discussing the ebola virus. I pumped him for any news of the development or spread of the ebola virus and he confirmed that his big-wig boss had been in contact with the CDC regarding the ebola outbreak AND they had several departmental meetings about it. I can tell you more about that in another post but can tell you he's is NOT at a high level of alert...yet. We will be discussing the potential need for setting a community meeting with like-minded individuals to discuss the "what if's" and how to prepare for an ebola outbreak.

Take Care,



  1. The laying issue might be a feed issue, as I have learned if they aren't getting enough of the 'important' vitamins/minerals for laying some won't lay for you.

  2. Laying eggs daily depends upon:
    -breed (make sure it's an egg producer) (I have buffs and some of them don't lay everyday and they tend to get broody which stops egg production)

    -age (older chickens lay less often, usually up to 2-3yrs old they are most efficient, unless they are molting)

    Summer is the highest volume of egg producing because of light. You might want to consider putting a light in your henhouse to increase egg production in winter.
    Also, as Rivenfae mentioned, feed. Chickens need protein and calcium.
    You don't think to feed meat to birds, but have requirements just like people, especially if you expect them to do some serious calorie burning in producing (and not just existing).
    Before big-ag people fed alfalfa and milk (waste milk) to birds for this.
    My chickens get scraps from dinner. Which sometimes doesnt' amount to much. But if I make a pot roast or anything that leaves the fat in the broth I feed this to them. They aren't fussy, they have like 2 taste buds and are extremely tolerant of spoiled and moldy food. Just don't feed poultry to poultry because that's just wrong and why we have prion diseases. Black oil sunflower is also a source of protein.

  3. Too bad this blog has become so infrequent. OrangeJeepDad must have lost interest.

    1. thanks for the reminder. I think about blogging daily I just haven't found the time recently with all this going on. Perhaps what you're encouraging me to do is write smaller more frequent posts? That's not a bad idea.


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